Physician Health

On National Doctors’ Day, saying thanks is just the start

Kevin B. O'Reilly , Senior News Editor

AMA News Wire

On National Doctors’ Day, saying thanks is just the start

Mar 28, 2024

March 30 is National Doctors’ Day, which provides an opportunity to thank the physicians who worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency to save lives and continue to take on huge challenges such as the obesity epidemic and rising rates of type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

While the federally declared COVID-19 public health emergency has expired, the pandemic’s lingering impact on physicians is readily apparent. According to survey data exclusive to the AMA that was collected through the AMA Organizational Biopsy®, the overall physician burnout rate was 53% in 2022.

AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians

After fighting for physicians during the pandemic, the AMA is taking on the next extraordinary challenge: Renewing the nation’s commitment to physicians.

Every day, physicians dedicate themselves to taking care of America’s patients. And it is past time for the nation to take some key steps to help physicians. It’s time to rebuild, and the AMA is ready.

5 keys to rebuilding the medical profession

As physicians’ relentless and powerful ally in health care, the AMA has dedicated itself to rebuilding critical components of the medical profession by:

  • Leading the charge to reform Medicare pay.
  • Reducing physician burnout.
  • Fighting scope creep.
  • Fixing prior authorization.
  • Supporting telehealth.

Read on to find out more about each of these five essential elements of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.

  1. Leading the charge to reform Medicare pay

    1. Another year, yet another pay cut. The AMA is continuing to challenge Congress to work on systemic reforms and make Medicare work better for you and your patients. Our work will continue, fighting tirelessly against future cuts—and against all barriers to patient care. The evidence is clear. The Medicare payment system is on an unsustainable path, threatening patients' access to physicians. 

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  2. Reducing physician burnout

    1. Far too many American physicians experience burnout. That's why the AMA develops resources that prioritize well-being and highlight workflow changes so physicians can focus on what matters—patient care. We are focused on removing administrative burdens, providing real-world solutions and helping physicians rediscover the joy in health care.
  3. Fighting scope creep

    1. Patients deserve care led by physicians—the most highly educated, trained and skilled health professionals. The AMA vigorously defends the practice of medicine against scope-of-practice expansions that threaten patient safety.
  4. Fixing prior authorization

    1. Prior authorization is overused, and existing processes present significant administrative and clinical concerns. The AMA’s approach to the prior authorization challenge includes research, practice resources and reform resources. The AMA is standing up to insurance companies to eliminate care delays, patient harm and practice hassles, and scored a $15 billion win for physicians on this score earlier this year. 
  5. Supporting telehealth

    1. Telehealth is critical to the future of health care, which is why the AMA continues to lead the charge to aggressively expand telehealth policy, research and resources to ensure physician practice sustainability and fair payment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth emerged as a vital way to maintain patient access to high-quality care. The AMA is fighting for legislation to permanently fix the restrictions on telehealth coverage and payment.

The AMA is scoring wins related to the five critical areas being addressed with the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians. Progress includes stopping more than 100 bills in 2023 that would have inappropriately expanded the scope of practice for nonphysicians, setting the standard for burnout prevention in health care with the AMA Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program, and building momentum in Congress for systemic reform of the Medicare physician payment system.

Learn more about advocacy efforts to advance the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.